Pakistan cricket September 20, 2016

Left-arm quick, right-arm quicker

Lahore Qalandars have unearthed a truly unique prospect in Yasir Jan, an ambidextrous quick who can generate serious pace with both arms
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'Bowling with both hands is something I want to keep doing'

Pakistan have produced a number of gifted fast bowlers through their cricket history. Now, a talent hunt conducted by the Pakistan Super League team Lahore Qalandars may have unearthed someone truly unique: Yasir Jan, a 21-year-old quick who can bowl with both arms, and generate serious pace with either.

According to Aaqib Javed, the former Pakistan fast bowler who is now Qalandars' head of cricket operations, the ambidextrous Yasir can clock "around 145kmph with his right arm and not less than 135kmph with his left arm".

Qalandars have signed up Yasir on a 10-year developmental contract.

Yasir hails from Charsadda, a town situated 29km from Peshawar. He moved to Islamabad at the age of 12, where he has been working with his brothers at the family's vegetable shop. Cricket had been a "part-time passion" until he took a break from his work earlier this month to attend the talent hunt in Rawalpindi. The event has journeyed throughout Punjab, starting in Bahawalpur and ending in Lahore, taking 22 days to cover all the major cities.

He didn't take long to catch Aaqib's eye.

"He was bowling with his right arm, but then he came to me and told me, 'I can bowl with left arm too,' which caught my attention," Aaqib said at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, where he introduced Yasir. "It was a surprise for me, because I have never seen anyone doing that. I have seen cricketers throwing with both arms, and even saw a bowler bowling spin with both arms, but this is someone extraordinary."

This isn't the first time Aaqib has discovered an unusual fast-bowling talent. In 2008, it was he who unearthed Mohammad Irfan, the 7'1" left-arm quick who was working at a plastic pipe factory at the time, earning around Pakistani Rs 8,000 (US $76 approx) a month while playing club cricket in the town of Gaggu Mandi in eastern Pakistan. Two years later, Irfan made his debut for Pakistan.

Aaqib said Yasir was "raw" at present, and that it would take him another year or so to become ready to play competitive cricket.

"Fast bowling is almost unnatural because you roll your arms and produce speed with an extreme level of muscle coordination," Aaqib said. "So him bowling with his weak arm with the same intensity and speed was something that is unique; I don't think anyone else in the world I know has done this. Like we had found Mohammad Irfan some time ago, now we have found a bigger talent with such an amazing ability.

"We just wanted to encourage this talent and develop him, and get him ready for top-level cricket. I have signed a 10-year contract with him as a part of his grooming and taking care of all finances by Lahore Qalandars, so that he doesn't have to worry about his future. I hope he works hard and keeps his focus, and we will be able to give a future star to Pakistan in coming years."

Yasir is confident about his future, and is happy to have found a platform. He has not played any competitive cricket so far. "It's a great moment for me that I got such a platform," he said at a conference, before signing his contract. "I have been running a vegetable shop and playing cricket in my spare time. I thank Aaqib bhai for his support, and I promise that I will remain focused and work very hard to make everyone proud. Playing for Pakistan is a dream for every kid playing cricket and I also want to see myself at the top in coming years."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Qasim Sharif on September 27, 2016, 10:06 GMT

    I wonder if like batsmen switch hit, bowlers will be allowed switch bowl. can't wait to see him switching midway bowling stride from one arm to another

  • Rajesh on September 25, 2016, 10:46 GMT

    Actions looks exactly like Dale Steyn!

  •   Haris Hafeez on September 23, 2016, 9:23 GMT

    pakistan has so many left arm bowlers that we might have to bowl with right arm more often.

  • Pundit on September 23, 2016, 2:37 GMT

    No doubt natural talent. Actions look v useful. That said it is too early to say how he copes and develops. Very good action by Aquib to support him and perhaps fast track him....more cities need to take this talent hunt intiatives. What I like is his attitude, which is refreshing and spot on. I very much hope he is successful.

  • Clifford on September 22, 2016, 19:32 GMT

    He could bowl faster with the left if his delivery stride was as nice as it is when he's bowling right handed. As it is his plant foot (right) is stopping him in his delivery stride and damaging his momentum. Also he gets more torso action into his right arm bowling. It is an impressive skill though and only in PAK or perhaps SL would they nurture a skill like this - anywhere else and they would train it out.

  • Mahesh on September 22, 2016, 18:50 GMT

    Hope he can develop and evolve into an international cricketer of class. Will be very interesting to watch.......

  • Dilan on September 22, 2016, 17:07 GMT

    wish he had for srilanka lack of left-arm fast bowlers hope to see him Pakistan A to national team

  •   Zar-Rar Muavia on September 22, 2016, 17:06 GMT

    Wait a moment... people just wonder to see him that will it be allowed to the game that in a match same bowler could bowl with different style left,right hand combination. but this could be the most uncommon in upcoming cricket matches.

  • Jason on September 22, 2016, 15:43 GMT

    @Hassan-SA10, There are no rules that prevent bowlers using either arm, Garfield Sobers bowled left and right arm.

    The only stipulation is that the bowler informs the Umpire and Batsman of a change of delivery method, eg that hes switching arms, so he cannot change mid run up.

  • sunnyk3128737 on September 22, 2016, 15:24 GMT

    The first thing that clicks the mind is the PSL is at least doing some positive impact of producing new talent. But one question which clocks the mind is that as per rules is this guy Yasir allowed to bowl with both the hands in competitive cricket?? If no, then the first advice aqib needs to tell him to just focus on one hand bowling and develop him to bowl at 150 kph then he will be something to reckon with. Cricket has evolved with time now u need cricketers who have talent with fitness level and understanding

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